The most spectacular event of the Chinese New Year festivities must surely be the Lion Dance. Lion dances take place throughout the first few days of the Chinese New Year, and bring good luck to the households or businesses which they visit.
The Lion Dance itself is performed by two 'dancers' one at the head and one at the tail of the lion. Careful observation of the Lion Dance will show that it is in fact a very careful demonstration of stylised movements performed by skilled performers (generally from a martial arts school or acrobatic company). To enhance the 'life' of the lion, the eyelids, mouth and ears of the Lion's head all move.
The dance is accompanied by loud music played on large drum, gong and cymbals. The use of firecrackers, drums, gongs and cymbals are related to the role of the lion in dispelling evil and bringing good luck - evil being afraid of loud noise (See the legend of Nian).
The dramatic climax of the Lion Dance is the Choi Cheng or 'Picking The dramatic climax of the Lion Dance is the Choi Cheng or 'Picking the Green'. The green here refers to vegetable leaves which are tied to a piece of string which also has a red packet attached containing money. The string is hung above the door of the house or business, and the lion 'eats' both leaves and red packet. Lying on the floor the leaves are 'chewed' by the dragon while the musicians play a dramatic rolling crescendo. The lull is broken as the lion explodes back into activity while spitting out the leaves. This is a symbolic act of blessing by the lion, with the spitting out of the leaves signifying that there will be an abundance of everything in the coming year.